I find myself battling with a question nearly every day recently: “How do I know if So-and-So is really saved?” Really a Christian. Really going to heaven.
The answer is obvious: I can’t. Not really. I grew up believing and, I think, still believe that once you’re saved, (i.e. once God justifies you in His eyes), then no matter what—you’re good to go [to heaven]. No sin can snatch you out of His hands, the Devil can’t drag you down to Hell, etc. So if someone is living universally for themselves, without a hint of Christ’s influence, they may still lock their fingers behind their heads, put up their feet and laugh at the days to come. They’re covered. They asked Jesus Christ to save them at such-and-such a date and at such-and-such an age.
The reason I keep asking myself this question is this: I treat Christians differently than everybody else, and vice versa. God tells us to, after all. For instance: A coworker swears. As far as I know, they are not Christians, so I do not say anything about the s-word they just jettisoned into the air. A friend swears. I know she’s a Christian, so I tell her to button her yap. See? It’s not a double standard. It’s just me fighting the good fight with someone I know who wants to fight it too.
That’s why I’ve got to know. If So-and-So’s a Christian, then I have a duty to open my mouth and say what I don’t want to: “Lovey, you should not marry an unbeliever”, “Dear, would you like to come to church? Nobody’s seen you in half a century”, etc. The words are difficult to pry out of me. I dislike admitting it, but confrontation tastes like gall to me. It’s extremely uncomfortable. And I know So-and-So is not the type of person to appreciate it. But, if So-and-So is not a Christian, I merely say, “Congratulations,” and that is that.
And then why not ask So-and-So? I feel that I see the questions bombarding this idea of mine. Well that is quite simple: I’ve asked before and then again. And again. I come to the conclusion I just don’t know if the reply is a truth or a lie.
So I leave it at that. I raise my head to God and say, “May I be absolved from sin if I treat this person as he or she should not be treated.”
I see a fragmented Christian culture I am ashamed of: Having my Heaven Cake and eating it too. But then I don’t know if it’s really a ‘Christian’ culture. I say it cannot be. So-and-So says it is. I am so thankful I don’t really have to know.